The first class with Sensei in Japan is always particular. Whatever my expectations are, this is still something different that I find.
In that respect, this first class with him was no different.
Similar in appearance, they are not. Sensei’s classes are like fireworks, it is beautiful, powerful and always different.
Because Sensei’s Budō is unpredictable, yet always the same.
This is “order in a clear disorder,” it is like fireworks.
It is 新設の乱, Shinsetsu no ran, organized chaos. (1) (2)
Mastering the organized chaos is the type of control we are learning this year. Control applies to the whole situation. It encompasses the opponent, but also the space between the players; and the space around them. As Sensei keeps repeating, “the Bujinkan is no sports.” This is about survival at war.
And do not limit the meaning of “war” to the sole military. War is something we face every day. Surviving is not becoming “Rambo,” it is able to survive our everyday problems. Ran are war and chaos, and it is everywhere. But the most important is how we respond to it.
We confront daily situations that are difficult to control. This is Muchitsujo, disorder. (3) Our goal is to change that. In a real fight, at the office, at home, or at school; our interactions with the others are a permanent battle. We are humans, and this is how we deal with adversity. The control we seek in 2018 when achieved, frees us from all trouble. Controlling our life, and our actions is a way to be one with nature.
But Muchitsujo (3) is not a curse, it is a fantastic chance to find control. Because without the disorder, there would no order. Without adversity or risk for our integrity (physical or mental), we would die. This is Howard Bloom exposes in “Lucifer Principle” (1995). (4)
Bloom “argues that social groups, not individuals, are the primary “unit of selection” on genes and human psychological development. He states that both competitions between groups and competition between individuals shape the evolution of the genome. Bloom “explores the intricate relationships among genetics, human behavior, and culture” and argues that “evil is a by-product of nature’s strategies for creation and that it is woven into our most basic biological fabric.” It sees the selection (i.e., through strong competition) as central to the creation of the superorganism society. The Lucifer Principle shows how ideas are vital in creating cohesion and cooperation in these pecking order battles.
The Dōjō is this “magic space” where, as a group of individuals, we can learn and experiment the reality of chaos. There we learn how to control chaos and to be in communion with nature. Sensei’s teachings are way beyond the simple mechanical movements of martial arts. What he teaches is a Budō of life. And the way to get immersed in this Budō of life is by studying the cause of chaos, and to put order into it. Control is teaching that.
When you train in Japan, you learn control, and how to evolve from Michitsujo to Chitsu, from chaos to order. (5)
Then Shinsetsu no Ran becomes only Shinsetsu. (1)
1 新設, shinsetsu: organized
2 乱, ran: revolt; rebellion; war
3 無秩序/muchitsujo/disorder; chaos; confusion
5 chitsu 秩序/order; discipline; regularity; system; a method